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Navalny complains of nerve pain in Russian prison


(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 02, 2021 This screengrab from a handout footage provided by the Moscow City Court press service shows Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, charged with violating the terms of a 2014 suspended sentence for embezzlement, gesturing a heart shape from inside a glass cell during a court hearing in Moscow. – Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is in great pain, his lawyer said on March 25, 2021, after visiting him in prison, adding that allies were afraid “for his life.” (Photo by Handout / Moscow City Court press service / AFP) /

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said Friday he was suffering from nerve pain in a notorious Russian penal colony and said getting sick in prison was potentially fatal.


President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent foe was last month sent to prison for two and a half years on old embezzlement charges his allies and Western government said were politically motivated.

His lawyers this week raised concerns about his health and called on prison authorities to clarify his condition and move him to Moscow for treatment.

“Apparently a nerve was pinched from constantly sitting in police wagons and in ‘pencil cases’ crookedly,” Navalny said in a message posted on Instagram on Friday, referring to court cages for defendants.

“A week ago, the prison doctor examined me and prescribed two ibuprofen pills but I still don’t know the diagnosis,” he added.

Navalny, 44, was detained in January after returning to Russia from Germany where he had been recovering for several months from a poisoning attack he says was orchestrated by the Kremlin.


He spent February between detention centres and courtrooms in Moscow where he was on trial for slandering a World War II veteran and violating the terms of an old suspended sentence handed down for fraud.

He said on Friday that Mikhail Khodorkovsky — who owned the former oil giant Yukos before he was convicted in two controversial cases and spent a decade behind bars — had warned him that getting sick in Russian prison was a potential death sentence.

“Once Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who served 10 years in prison, told me: ‘The main thing is not to get sick there.'”

“Nobody will treat you. If you get seriously ill, you will die,” Navalny said Khodorkovsky had told him.

Navalny on Thursday filed two formal complaints, saying he was being subjected to sleep deprivation that amounted to “torture”.

On Friday however, he joked that he did not want to “part with” his right leg and quipped about becoming a one-legged pirate.

The Kremlin, which denied involvement in Navalny’s poisoning, said questions about his health should be directed to the prison service.

On Thursday, Navalny’s wife Yulia appealed directly to Putin to set his critic free.


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